Is Anthony Davis underperforming this season? Yes, he is.
After leading the Los Angeles Lakers to their 17th Championship alongside LeBron James, Anthony Davis was seen as one of the best basketball players in the league. It is fair to say that people were arguing that he is a top-five player in the league at that time.
This season however, you won’t find many people trying to make that argument. Is it fair that Davis has lost some of the respect he got last season? Perhaps.
To put it simply, last year Davis was unstoppable. He was so versatile on offense it was difficult to say if there was anyone in the NBA that could guard him.
His post game was impeccable last year. He could bully his defender and get to the rim, use his elite footwork to get to the rim without much contact, or utilise his strong midrange game.
He was also a more reliable free throw shooter. He averaged 8.5 free throw attempts a game and shot 84.6% from the line. This season his attempts have gone down to 5.4 and he is shooting 72%.
His three-point shooting has also seemed to have gotten worse this year, he averaged 3.5 attempts and shot 33% from beyond the arc. This year he is averaging 2.8 attempts and shooting 26.5%.
Therefore, it is fair to say that offensively he is underperforming on offense in comparison to last season. He went from averaging 26.1 points to 21.4.
It should be noted that Davis underperforming this year isn’t a reflection of how good he is as player. We have seen him have seasons better than this one, not just last year but also with the New Orleans Pelicans.
However, Anthony Davis underperforming could be worrying to Lakers fans for the upcoming playoffs.
Are Injuries the Reason for Anthony Davis Underperforming?
A big justification for Davis underperforming is his injury. He was forced to miss 11 weeks of action due to a calf strain and some issues with his Achilles.
Now that he has returned from injury, we may see him return to how good he was last season. Recently, Davis had his best game since his return against the Denver Nuggets.
He had 25 points and 7 rebounds in a surprising win for the Lakers and a very clutch block to secure the win. The Nuggets went into the game with a 9-1 record since Jamal Murray’s injury.
The Lakers were without LeBron James and Dennis Schroder so Davis leading them to a much needed win over a tough team on a good run was big.
Although, even prior to the injury Davis was still not having a season to his standard. He was averaging 22.5 points and 8.4 rebounds. Again, it has to be emphasised that Davis underperforming is purely on offense, he is still one of the best defenders in the league.
Should the Lakers be Worried?
Davis not being at his best is something to worry about, but to be honest the Lakers have bigger things to worry about during the playoffs. That is LeBron James’ injury.
Yes, when Davis is at his best he is one of the hardest players to guard in the NBA, but the team can only go as far as James takes it.
Anthony Davis underperforming will harm the Lakers if James is fully healthy, at his best and he could even end up getting blame if they were to lose.
James recently made some worrying comments about his ankle injury. The four-time NBA champion said: “I knew I wasn’t going to get back to 100%. Its impossible.
“I don’t think I will ever get back to 100% in my career.”
James is now side lined again due to his ankle, leaving even less time for him to get back to the best he can be. There doesn’t seem to be enough time for the Lakers to be the best versions of themselves.
They need time for Davis, Andre Drummond, Schroder and James to all play together and learn the best ways to share the ball. There isn’t enough time for us to see the best version of this roster, they can’t just figure out something like chemistry.
The Lakers need James at his best if they want go far in the tough Western Conference, let alone win another championship.
Davis needs to be at his best but the priority for the Lakers has to be their team’s chemistry and James’ health. Anthony Davis underperforming in the regular season definitely cannot continue in the playoffs if James isn’t at his best.
When he is at his best, no team has any answer for him when he’s on offense. He will be the difference maker in their playoffs series if he’s at his best. But the Lakers will only go as far as James takes them.
Everyone knows how James takes his game to another level when it comes to the playoffs. If Davis plays at the level he played this regular season at, James could still lead the Lakers all the way with help from Davis’ elite defense.
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